A Halifax hospital is defending its use of home lotteries to raise money after a Canadian medical journal suggested they could potentially fuel gambling addictions.
Dr. John Fletcher, editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, wrote in an editorial that hospitals should not be selling an addictive product.
"Have we lost our moral compass to such an extent that we are blinded to our duty to ‘first do no harm’ by the attraction of easy revenue?" He wrote.
But in Halifax, the CEO of the Queen Elizabeth II hospital said they’ve conducted two independent studies on the issue.
"We’ve done our homework," said Chris Power. "There's no evidence to suggest that the kind of hospital lottery that we're doing is actually doing harm."
Power said the hospital makes about $4-million a year by holding a lottery in the fall and the spring. That money pays for about 25 per cent of the equipment at the hospital.
"It’s doing a tremendous amount of good because of the money that's coming from the lottery is helping patient care."
Bill Bean, head of the QEII Foundation which runs the lottery, said they won’t be making changes because of the editorial.
"There is no behaviour in our lotteries that ignites instant gratification, which is part of problem gambling," he said. "So if you buy a ticket now and you have to wait three months, no one comes back to our desk and says 'give me another ticket, give me another ticket.’"
Power said they have never had a complaint about the lottery causing problems with gamblers.
"We care for people who have those addictions, so we know all about that."